As Mike Harrington reports, the Sabres re-signed Regier sometime in the fall, either in September or October. The first anyone had really heard of Terry Pegula being a serious candidate to buy the franchise was on Nov. 30 when the Hockey News broke the story.
The talks had been ongoing at that point as Jim Heaney reported that “[a]t some point last summer or fall, [Pegula] initiated conversations with the Sabres about buying the team.”
However, it’s not yet clear whether this was the first time Pegula tried to buy the team. From Bucky Gleason:
Pegula has been hushed because he feared his attempt to buy the franchise would fall through after one attempt failed several months ago.
From what we can gather and speculate on, then, is that Pegula approached Sabres management about buying the team in either the summer or the fall. That could have been as early as July for all we know. Several months ago (that could very well have been during the summer or early fall), Pegula’s plan to purchase the team fell through. The Sabres signed Regier to an extension in either September or October, presumably as Pegula was putting together another proposal. Then at the end of November, the Hockey News story comes out.
Quinn has said on numerous occasions that the team receives inquiries from potential buyers quite often. So it’s possible that they simply didn’t take Pegula seriously at first and they thought that they’d continue to own the team for the foreseeable future. That’s when the Regier extension could have been signed.
When Pegula came back with an offer around November, maybe he blew their socks off and the wheels to transfer ownership really started spinning. At that point, Regier is already locked in and Quinn and Dan DiPofi are looking to pack up their offices in six months time.
There’s also the Golden Parachute Theory that Katebits, Heather and I hypothesized. It sounds shady, but what if, knowing the team was going to be sold soon, Golisano and Quinn decided to reward Regier with one final big payday?
He’s signed on for two more years and will make somewhere between $2 and $2.5 million according to Harrington. If Pegula comes in and wants to change general managers, it sure looks like he’d be on the hook for that contract. A nice parting gift to Regier from his old bosses on Pegula’s dime. Hey, it’s not like Pegula can’t afford it.
I’m not totally convinced they planned it out to work that way. It could be a random coincidence. Stuff does happen by chance — and things do usually seem to make more sense in hindsight or with proper explanation.
What still doesn’t add up yet is why the Sabres kept the extension a secret.
Hopefully Thursday’s press conference will shed more light on the timeline of both the sale and the Regier extension. And even then, we won’t have the full story until Pegula breaks his silence.
UPDATE: Lindy Ruff says he was offered an extension, but turned the Sabres down for now. Could that have been a factor in the Sabres not announcing the Regier extension?